As the weeks zoomed by through April then May, there were mornings that I woke up and wondered if I'd missed it altogether. The best part is that I could always identify the next closest thing to look forward to and just brushed right past it. This has not been a year short on adventuring. Given everything else in play, today is but a happy benchmark.
Even today, I know that tomorrow I'll start my trek toward Mississippi to celebrate the wedding of a very old friend. Exactly five years after the wedding of another friend within the same set.
Five years ago I was freshly home from the-adventure-to-which-all-others-are-compared: three weeks in southern France and northern Italy with Molly. I had a heart still very freshly broken but it had taken on a defiant limp toward a new life in a big city (at this point I thought that city would be Boston). I saw it all working out perfectly. I was moving to the city, getting a job in PR, getting a cat, hosting several dinner parties and would generally become a totally sexy jetsetter.
For all the things I couldn't have known then, (subjective/overtly optimistic self-projection aside- in my head all "jetsetters" looked like Penelope Cruz/A. Jolie hybrids), I wasn't that far off. In the last year: 42 airplanes, 10 states, six west coast expeditions, three trips into LAX, three trips into LGA, two city crushes and one pretty fantastic long weekend in Italy.
It hasn't all been cake but the odd bitter pill makes the frosting taste a little sweeter on days like this. I'm grateful.
I think I feel my age today. It sounds strange to say it out loud but I can't remember a birthday when that wasn't the case. I have a lot to learn and become a little more open to just how deep the "things I don't know" bucket actually is by the year. That's also how I know I'm not 22 anymore. At 22, I had the whole thing figured out. At 27, I don't and I like it that way.
27th Birthday Cake: Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake (yes, you read that right)
Adapted from Bon Appetit
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 3/4 cups boiling water
- 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- 1 1/3 cups mayonnaise (do not use reduced-fat or fat-free)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour three 8-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Combine chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in medium metal bowl. Add 13/4 cups boiling water and whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
- Sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder into another medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat both sugars and mayonnaise in large bowl until well blended, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 4 additions alternately with chocolate mixture in 3 additions, beating until blended after each addition and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Divide batter among prepared cake pans.
- Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 30 to 32 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 20 minutes.
- Run small knife around sides of cakes to loosen. Carefully invert cakes onto racks and let cool completely.
- Place chopped chocolate in medium metal bowl; set bowl over saucepan of simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Carefully remove bowl from over water; let melted chocolate cool until lukewarm, stirring occasionally.
- Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth and creamy. Sift powdered sugar over butter and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Add melted chocolate and beat until well blended and smooth, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl.
- Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread frosting over top of cake layer to edges. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining frosting decoratively over top and sides of cake.